Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
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Duty of respect and obedience owed by every man to the state of which he is a member. In the light of Christian principles this does not mean that one must support his country right or wrong, complying with wrong conditions solely for the sake of security. Spiritual obedience to God and the Church should not conflict with allegiance to lawfully constituted civil authority. As explained by St. Paul, "You must all obey the governing authorities, since all government comes from God, the civil authorities were appointed by God, and so anyone who resists authority is rebelling against God's decision" (Romans 13:1-2).